By: Brent Ramsey
March 28, 2018
The EOS C700 FF offers an incredible range of shooting options, image formats and system expandability – totally optimized for top-end cinema production under a variety of production environments. And in a major new development for the EOS C700 line of cinema cameras, this flagship Cinema EOS model features a full frame 5.9K CMOS sensor developed by Canon.
If you asked a number of veteran cinematographers about what first compelled them to explore digital cinematography, they may well point out the look of full frame video and possibly even reference the Canon EOS 5D Mark II as a meaningful product turning point. The look of full frame with its shallow depth of field coupled with the aesthetic power of prime lenses was hard to disregard.
And while Canon’s original success with full frame image capture is hard to deny, Canon now offers an intriguing variation on the same with the Canon EOS C700 FF Cinema Camera.
Full Frame Sensor Evolution
The progression of full frame digital image capture and processing has transformed considerably since Canon first introduced the EOS 5D Mark II in 2008, to say the least. The unique full frame look and image processing that worked surprisingly well then, has now been tailored in the EOS C700 FF with a substantial development in full frame digital image capture -- one that fits within the proper aspects of digital cinematography.
20.8MP CMOS Sensor
The EOS C700 FF features a 20.8MP CMOS sensor having an active image area measuring 38.1x20.1mm – a significant variation on the conventional 36x24mm ratio that continues to be employed in Canon full frame still cameras.
The EOS C700 FF image sensor supports the standardized DCI 17:9 aspect ratio, while retaining the same image circle as the established 35mm full frame format. It’s a large format 17:9 sensor – slightly wider and shorter than traditional full frame dimensions, and that can enhance the capture of wide-angle panoramic scenes.
Three Sensor Modes
The C700 FF supports readout with 3 different Sensor Modes -- Full Frame, Super 35mm (Cropped), and Super 16mm (Cropped). Choose the sensor mode for the look you’re after, or simply the type of glass you are using.
This enables the use of full frame glass that can cover the 43.1mm sensor diagonal, as well as conventional Super 35mm lenses, and the sensor area is also an excellent match for the effective image circle of anamorphic lenses. On top of that, the Super 16mm mode enables use of S16mm legacy lenses, and in the same mode with a B4 mount adaptor, like the Canon MO-4, 2/3” ENG broadcast lenses, as well.
Now, what the different sensor modes provide is an amazing read-out flexibility with numerable recording formats and resolutions: 4K, Ultra HD, 2K and Full HD in the Full Frame mode, 4K, Ultra HD 2K, Full HD with the Super 35mm (Crop) mode, and 2K, Full HD with the Super 16mm (Crop) mode. And modes all can be recorded internally to CFast cards using either the XF-AVC or ProRes codecs.
There’s another recording option that I haven’t even mentioned: Cinema RAW capture options deliver the full frame sensor readout up to 5.9K. But more on that further down.
Over Sampling 4K Processing
To accomplish internal capture the Canon EOS C700 FF is implementing “Over Sampling 4K Processing,” a processing algorithm that effectively mobilizes the significant resolution of the 5.9K sensor to produce outstanding image quality for 4K DCI, Ultra HD, 2K and Full HD recording, using Triple DIGIC DV 5 Signal Processing.
With Over Sampling 4K Processing, pixels are interpolated and 5.9K RGB data is generated. This process uses a high-quality debayering algorithm to help suppress moire and simultaneously minimize aliasing, while also suppressing noise graininess. 4K/UHD and 2K/Full HD data is ultimately generated using non-additive resizing.
The supersampled 5.9 K produces a 4K representation having enhanced MTF, which results in super sharp images. In combination with the noise reduction, minimized moire and aliasing, this produces enhanced detail even at higher ISO settings. This should be of special interest for those looking to shoot for VFX, background plates, and sports, wherever very high detail is required.
This process enables over-sampled XF-AVC in 4K, Ultra HD, 2K, and Full HD resolutions to be recorded at up to 60P in the YCC422 Intra format with available 2K and Full HD Super 16mm sensor mode frame rates from 1 to 168fps. Frame rate options vary according to the resolution and base frame rate, and XF-AVC recording still includes RGB444 10- and 12-bit 2K/Full HD up to 60p.
Now for Cinema RAW recording: With an optional Codex CDX-36150 recorder mounted, the EOS C700 FF allows you to record the entire 5.9K vertical resolution with base frame rates up to 59.94P, and capture settings in 10- and 12-bit. Shoot 5.9K Cinema RAW in either 17:9 (5952x3140), or 2.35:1 (5952x2532) widescreen, which offers the perfect aspect ratio fit to the spec of the Cinemascope format. Shoot 4K (4096x2160) cropped up to 72fps. Shoot Cinema RAW 2K (2048x1080) (cropped) up to 168fps.
When recording Cinema RAW, the unique RAW Gamma curve is deployed that maximizes digital coding regardless of the ISO setting.
The EOS C700 was the first Canon model to support Apple ProRes recording and that continues with the C700 FF. ProRes including 4444XQ can be recorded to the CDX-36150. Full Frame 4K/UHD, Super 35mm (Crop) 4K/UHD, and 2K/FHD with frame rates up to 72fps are available. And the Super 16mm (Crop) sensor mode produces ProRes frame rates up to 168fps.
ProRes can be recorded internally to CFast as well, in a variety of Sensor modes, resolutions, codecs, and bit depths with frame rates up to 168fps. Additional ProRes formats are planned with future firmware updates.
Simultaneous recording options are available. Record Cinema RAW to the Codex CDX-36150, and internally to XF-AVC or ProRes while producing low-rez proxies at the same time. For times when offloading cards is just not possible, you can also simultaneously record to both CFast cards for an immediate backup.
The EOS C700 FF offers unprecedented low noise as well as broad-ranging tonality exceeding 15 stops. With three Canon Log gammas to choose from, and a wide color gamut with Cine Gamut that exceeds BT2020, the EOS C700 FF produces natural skin tones and provides an overall greater freedom in color grading and visual expression. It also offers outstanding HDR production possibilities as the EOS C700 FF camera system supports the IU-R BT. 2100 standard.
Dual Pixel CMOS AF
Dual Pixel CMOS AF is supported. While many of you may not need to take full advantage of One-Shot AF, Continuous AF, AF-Boosted MF, Tracking, Face Detection AF (using of course only lenses that support AF functions), you may want to seriously consider augmenting your focus methods with the Focus Guide, which is available in conjunction with Canon’s EF Cinema Primes, Cine Servo’s and Compact Servo lenses – and helps ensure precision reporting in the viewfinder on your manual focus.
Sensor and Mount Swap
The EOS C700 FF has been developed using the EOS C700 mainframe, which means (among other things) that the sensor module can be replaced on the EOS C700 Super 35 model by Canon’s Factory Service Center to create a full frame camera. Canon will be offering the EOS C700 FF in both EF and PL mount versions, and these lens mounts can also be swapped between EF Cinema Lock and PL. It also means that you’ll have at your disposal the entire EOS C700 camera system and its proven reliability.
Whether your need is documentary or independent film production, shorts, episodic, broadcast, or commercial work, Canon’s EOS C700 FF Cinema Camera is an exciting new option for delivering outstanding full frame image quality, operability, and performance.
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